Christine Gregoire casts her line at Westwood Lake on Sunday. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo anglers wonder if any more piranhas are biting

People fishing at Westwood Lake think there could be more piranhas in there

It’s not quite a piranha fishing derby up at Westwood Lake, but fishermen there now know they can expect the unexpected when they feel a tug on their line.

“It’s a beautiful day, I just decided to do some fishing, catch-and-release,” said Christine Gregoire at the lake this past weekend. “But it was pretty intriguing to hear about the tropical piranhas that are in there. If I catch one, I’ll try to rescue it.”

Gregoire was one of more than half a dozen anglers trying their luck at Westwood Lake on Sunday mid-day when the News Bulletin stopped by. Every person the Bulletin approached jokingly replied they were fishing for piranhas, so all had heard about last Tuesday’s surprise catch.

RELATED: Fishermen land piranhas in Nanaimo’s Westwood Lake

David Kingston said he was aiming for trout, but was hoping to reel in a red-bellied piranha. He was fishing at the rock bluffs where the piranha was caught, and had brought a bucket with him just in case.

“I want to keep it in the water, I want to keep it alive,” he said. “If one comes along, I’m going to try to save it and I’m going to put it in an aquarium.”

Kingston said he sometimes fishes from a rowboat, but when he fishes from shore, it’s from the rock bluffs. He catches rainbow trout and the odd bass, he said.

“Not all the time, but on good days, you might get a 22-inch, and I’ve heard there’s bigger ones in here,” he said. “I caught a two-pound bass years and years ago.”

He wasn’t too worried about any piranhas being in the lake, suggesting “they’re going to croak” in another month anyway, when the water gets colder, but Gregoire said she has concerns.

“It’s going to interrupt the eco-system, mess with the species that are already in there,” she said.

Gregoire said she has fish tanks at home and so if she caught a piranha, she would keep it alive and figure out what to do with it from there. She guessed that piranhas might aggressively go after a baited hook, but chasing a wild fish tale wasn’t really her reason for spending an afternoon at the lake.

“If I catch a fish, I do, if I don’t, I don’t,” she said. “It’s just all about the tranquility of being out here.”

The red-bellied piranha caught last Tuesday was the second one landed at Westwood Lake this year, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, and is thought to have been an unwanted pet. It was caught using yellow-orange PowerBait on a line and sinker. Anglers who catch introduced species are asked to make a report to the Forest, Land and Natural Resources office or call 1-877-952-7277.

TODAY’S MOST-READ: Six facts about B.C.’s triple homicide, manhunt



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

United Way’s giving campaign launches with less fanfare during pandemic

United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island’s fall campaign is now underway

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 30

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Tilray medicinal-cannabis product shows promise in cancer therapy research study

Clinical trial finds cannabis from Nanaimo company reduced chemotherapy-caused nausea, vomiting

RCMP hope public can help locate missing Nanaimo man

Gary Alexander Davidson, 54, has not been seen or heard from since Sept. 20

Nanaimo school district may combine demolition of Franklyn Street gym, career resource centre

Demolition of old career centre and library on Selby Street already out for tender

Protesters blockading log-sort operation at Nanaimo’s Duke Point

Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo demands an end to all old-growth logging in B.C.

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Most Read